Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

Cash for 'recession depression'

Depressed youth sitting on steps
Funds will go to therapy services and training for health workers

The government is to devote funds to assist people who develop mental health problems because of the recession.

An extra 13m has been allocated for therapy services in England to help identify those who might be suffering from depression due to the downturn.

Support workers will help those who have lost their jobs and suffer from depression and anxiety return to work.

Mental health charities have welcomed the move, but some have questioned whether the money will be enough.

'Family strain'

Concerns have also been raised about whether funds will get through to the right services.

The plans include training an extra 3,600 therapists and hundreds of specialist nurses to set up counselling centres across the UK by the end of next year.

It is hoped they will be able to spot people who might have psychological problems because of their financial difficulties.

We must learn from the mistakes of past recessions
Paul Farmer, Mind

Under the scheme, a network will be created of what the government calls employment support workers who will offer advice on returning to the job market.

The mental health charity Mind welcomed the extra funding and said there had never been a more important time to invest.

Chief executive Paul Farmer said: "Redundancy and money worries put strain on family relationships, cause sleepless nights, trigger stress and increase the risk of developing depression.

"When it comes to the scale of the current recession we are in uncharted territory about how many people could be affected.

"We must learn from the mistakes of past recessions where people lost their job, their confidence and their self esteem leaving them unable to return to the workforce."

Paul Corry, from the mental health charity Rethink, said: "One in four of us is going to experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives.

"We know from history that recessions, depressions and economic troubles bring on mental health problems in people."

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "We welcome this announcement, not least because we called for these measures to be introduced last year.

"Yet again we see that where the Conservatives lead, the government follows."

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